Apartment for Sale in Dubai Vs. Villa – Which Nets Better Yields?

apartment for sale in dubai

Whether you’re looking for an apartment for sale in Dubai, or a villa; if you’re a property investor in the market to purchase real estate in Dubai, it’s in your best interest to know which property type nets the greatest returns on your investment. With the average investor seeing between 6-10% rental returns, it’s important to know how to get as close as possible to the top-end of that range for your investment property.

To lay the groundwork for this comparison, there are a few facts to discuss that may affect returns.

Occupancy Rates:

Typically, investors see higher occupancy rates when buying an apartment for sale in Dubai. There are a few reasons for this. Villa tenants are typically families with school-aged children. Their lifestyle restricts them from moving after the one year tenancy agreement is completed, instead, villa residents with stable careers tend to renew for an average occupancy of 4 years. Apartments seldom see these averages, which leaves chance that your investment property remains unoccupied for weeks or months, every year. Additionally, villa renters tend not to deal with issues that apartment renters often face; poor tower upkeep, loud neighbors and parking availability are all common reasons by apartment renters looking to change residence.

Service Charges:

Service fees in certain areas around Dubai can definitely make a dent in your net rental yields. Although not tied to property type, Villa community service charges tend to be less than apartment building service charges, but this is not a set rule. Service charges will depend on community services and common area maintenance needs; parking garages, landscaping, community pools, garbage collection, number of elevators etc. To learn about the different service charges around Dubai, you may contact us or visit the RERA Service Charge Index.

Capital Gains:

Although a discussion of capital appreciation of an investment property is not within the scope of this article. It remains a relevant point when discussing returns on an investment property. As a general rule of thumb, we should highlight that capital gains should be calculated separately when considering ROI. Dubai is one of the few cities in the world where it is possible to benefit from high running yields and significant appreciation of property value, there really is no trade-off. That being said, it is more reliable to use net rental yields as a profit indicator, rather than appreciated value – as the latter is never guaranteed. As a side, the average villa stays on the market longer than the average apartment for sale in Dubai.

Follow the Case Study below to get a glimpse of ROI calculations using real data, extracted from Reidin.

Using a data model of a 1000 sq. ft. villa and apartment in Discovery Gardens at the start of 2011, we’re able calculate the following average ROI:

Purchase price of a 1000 sq. ft. property in Discovery Gardens (2011)

Villa Apartment
AED 844,000 AED 489,000


Gross Rental Yields for property in Discovery Gardens (2011-2015)

Year Villa Yields (AED) (%) Apartment Yields (AED) (%)
2011 47,000 6 41,500 8
2012 52,300 6 36,200 7
2013 57,500 7 40,800 8
2014 63,700 8 52,900 11
2015 66,000 8 72,900 15


Average Occupancy Rates for property in Discovery Gardens (2011-2015)

Year Villa (%) Apartment (%)
2011 95 92
2012 95 92
2013 95 92
2014 95 92
2015 95 92


Annual Service Charges for 1000 sq. ft. property in Discovery Gardens (2011-2015)

Year Villa (AED) Apartment (AED)
2011 3480 4500
2012 3060 4500
2013 2280 8520
2014 1920 7740
2015 1980 7680


Net Rental Yields for 1000 sq. ft. property in Discovery Gardens (2011-215) – Adjusted for Occupancy and Service Fees

Year Villa (%) Apartment (%)
2011 4.90 6.96
2012 5.54 5.96
2013 6.22 6.07
2014 6.95 8.50
2015 7.21 12.27


Average 5-year Net Return on Investment

Villa (%) Apartment (%)
6.16 7.95

As the data shows, buying an apartment for sale in Dubai as an investment property nets higher rental returns when compared to a villa of the same size and location. Although occupancy rates are lower and service charges are higher with apartments, the higher ROI can be attributed to consistently increasing demand for affordable rental apartments in recent years which, ultimately, drives up rental rates. Interestingly, the capital appreciation of each of our data models was as follows:

Capital Appreciation of 1000 sq. ft. property in Discovery Gardens over 5 years (2011-2015)

Villa (%) Apartment (%)
60 55


To make the most of your real estate investment or inquire about your property purchasing options, you may contact us here to speak with a property consultant.

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